inhabitants with iron chariots

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether God is omnipotent because Judges 1:19 says that God was with Judah, but Judah could not drive out inhabitants who had iron chariots.

Also, some claim that there is a contradiction between Judges 1:19 and Joshua 17:18, since Judges 1:19 says that Judah could not overcome the inhabitants with iron chariots and Joshua 17:18 says that the people with iron chariots would be overcome.
However, there is at least one reasonable explanation that solves these alleged problems in the Bible.

Scriptures – Could God Drive Out the Inhabitants with Iron Chariots?

Judges 1:19 – Could Not Overcome

And the Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.

Judges 1:19

Joshua 17:18 – Would Overcome

but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”

The Answer

God’s promise to be with the Israelites was conditional. If they were obedient, he would be with them, but if they were not obedient, he would not be with them. Judges 2:1-3 tells us that the Israelites were not obedient.

1 Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”

Judges 1:19

So, a probable explanation is that Judges 1:19 is saying that Judah was unable to drive out the inhabitants with iron chariots because Judah had disobeyed God.

This would resolve the alleged contradiction with Joshua 17:18, since the promise of Joshua 17:18 would only apply if Judah was obedient to God.

Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties

There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.

Related to “Could God Drive Out the Inhabitants with Iron Chariots?”

To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.

These books are also excellent resources:


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